Fonds BC347 - WG Ballinger Papers

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WG Ballinger Papers


  • 1893 - 1974 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

2456 items

Name of creator


Biographical history

William George Ballinger was born in Glasgow in 193. He was educated in England, Scotland and Denmark. He was an active member of the Independent Labour Party and had considerable experience in Scottish municipal affairs. He came to South Africa in 1928 as an advisor to the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa, a black trade union, which at the time was experiencing financial and organisational difficulties. He was unable to revive the I.C.U. and after the final collapse in the 1930s, he worked with its successor, the Society of Friends. His work was, however, continually hampered by government interference. From 1948 to 1960 he represented Transvaal and O.F.S. Africans in the Senate. In 1934 he married Margaret Hodgson. He died in 1974.

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Scope and content

The W.G. Ballinger Papers were presented to the University of Cape Town Libraries by Mr Ballinger in 1971, and number ca 2456 items. The Papers consist of correspondence, speeches, articles, pamphlets, newspaper clippings etc, reflecting Mr Ballinger’s private and public career from the 1920s to the 1960s. There is a considerable amount of material on trade unions, including such organisations as the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union, the Society of Friends of Africa, the Garment Workers Union and the South African Trades and Labour Council. Organisations like the Liberal Party of South Africa, the South African Institute of Race Relations, the African National Congress, and various religious organisations are also reflected in the Papers. There is material on Coloured, Indian and African affairs, correspondence with people like Miss Winifred Holtby and Miss Ethelreda Lewis, and a considerable number of newspaper clippings and pamphlets on political and social subjects.


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There are no restrictions on the use of the papers, but permission must first be obtained from the University Librarian.

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Finding aids

Only a high level description of the collection is maintained in AtoM. A detailed PDF list of the contents can be found at

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  • Shelf: 59a